The question over Resource Process Outsourcing (RPO) versus In-House recruitment is nothing new and is one that will resonate with those employers who have significant recruitment to undertake be it on a project by project basis or to meet a continuous growth plan.
I have a bias towards RPO having witnessed it work very successfully in a variety of different types of company but I equally believe that there is a place for both in the right environment and given the right need. There is no doubt that both have their benefits and drawbacks. Before any real decision can be made, a thought has to be cast as to what your expectations from them are.
In-house recruitment teams and “HR Business partners” are becoming fashionable for those companies looking to take better control of their recruitment and reduce spend. This solution can be very effective if the time is taken upfront when recruiting people who will make up the team and if it understood that HR and recruitment, although closely related, are very different things and require a different sort of person. HR business partners tend to end up being both a recruiter and intermediary between the hiring managers and the outside world. An external recruitment provider would likely split these functions. To be effective, strong recruiters must be found, given clear direction and incentive to effectively carry out that single function leaving the internal client relationship to the HR business partner. People originating from a HR background tend to be more transactional and do not share the same drivers as someone from a recruitment background. Attracting good and therefore higher earning recruiters away from their current and successful environments into an In-house team therefore becomes challenging. Care must be taken not to employ underachievers seeking escape into what they may consider a more comfortable environment.
If, as a company, you have a highly recognisable or particularly strong brand that already attracts talent and you require a more transactional service then an In-House team may be the way forwards. Just remember to take into consideration the cost of hiring the team, their annual salary burden and the outlay for an useable Applicant Tracking System and the required tools for them to be successful such as job boards, advanced LinkedIn subscriptions etc.
RPO providers offer a few immediate benefits that an In-house option may not. They will already have the systems in place to carry out their function in terms of Applicant Tracking software, Business Intelligence reporting, social and business media coverage and the associated recruiting tools. They will also have an established team of specialist recruiters with a knowledge of your market and competitors.
If your company is particularly project focussed or needs to flex with market trends then an In-house team can be an expensive risk, especially if recruitment demand temporarily declines. An RPO provider will flex with your requirement and can scale its service provision to meet your demand.
RPO is very strategic and a good RPO provider will offer far more than a “bums on seats solution”. The overall shape of how you recruit will be owned by an RPO provider and they will be constantly looking at how they can not only deliver your requirements but also continually improve on them, make them faster and more cost effective. Being able to step outside of company politics and agenda’s and take a look holistically at an entire process including brand marketing, candidate attraction, recruitment efficiency, on boarding and retention strategy places an external provider in a strong position to be successful.
It is worth spending the time reviewing your current recruitment processes and establishing your need for a strategy. There are consultants who can help with this and good RPO companies will usually provide the tools for you to test your business for suitability. Consider the costs of both and look beyond your immediate recruitment needs to ensure that sudden changes will not leave you with a cost burden. Decide whether or not a transactional, reactive method will work or whether a more strategic and comprehensive service will benefit your business.
Remember that recruitment is not always black and white, the good external recruitment providers will probably be happy to sit down and discuss a bespoke service that can both compliment and benefit your existing methods and work in harmony with your own people.
To find out more please contact Toby Garrod on 01925 747392 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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